Welsh Brewer Boss Brewing applied last year to register two of its beers, “Boss Black” and “Boss Boss”, a process that usually costs in the region of £300. However, clothing giant Hugo Boss objected, insisting that the small Welsh firm “cease and desist” selling the beers and embarking on a costly four-month trademark action that has left Boss Brewing with a legal bill of almost £10,000.
According to Hugo Boss, the action was initiated “… to avoid conflict and potential misunderstanding regarding the brands BOSS and BOSS Black, which had been used by the brewery but are (longstanding) trademarks of our company”.
Ultimately, the brewery, which employees 25 people, decided to follow legal advice, agreeing to change the names of its two beers to “Boss Brewing Black” and “Boss Bossy” respectively. It has also agreed to stop selling its “Boss” clothing, including T-Shirts and other items – an issue of particular contention for the German manufacturer and retailer.
According to brewery owner Sarah John, “This has been a horrible experience, and so stressful”.